Families & Pregnancy
Maternity leave and pay.
A number of family-friendly initiatives were introduced by the Labour government from the late 1990s onwards, and which are now well-established – rights to paternity leave, parental leave (for mothers and fathers), emergency dependents’ leave and adoption leave, together with regular increases to maternity leave and pay.
In this area, there is plenty of government guidance setting out the most recent rules and rates of pay in each area. It is worth bearing in mind though that the right to leave and the right to pay in each case are quite separate. Maternity is an obvious example. The right to maternity leave and the right to maternity pay are in different pieces of legislation, so although maternity leave divides into six months “ordinary maternity leave” and six months “additional maternity leave,” the right to statutory maternity pay runs out after 39 weeks (9 months).
The latest figures and rules on entitlement can be found here – Direct.Gov guidance on work and families.
There are also a number of other issues to be aware of with pregnant staff, such as the need to carry out a risk assessment, for which further guidance is available here: HSE guidance for new and expectant mothers.